Unity, Ecstasy, Communion: The Tragic Perspective of W.B. Yeats

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As a young man of twenty-one in 1886, William Butler Yeats announced his ambition to unify Ireland through heroic poetry. But this prophetic urge lacked structure. Yeats had only some callow notions about needing self-possession and appropriate control of his imagery. As a result, his search for essential knowledge and experience soon led him into occult and symbolist vagueness. Yeats' mind grew flaccid, and his art languished in preciosity for over a decade. Lotos-eating had replaced prophetic fervor. However, early in the new century, as Yeats neared middle age and permanent mediocrity, he recovered his early zeal and finally found ... continued below

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iv, 321 leaves

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Brooks, John C. May 1988.

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  • Brooks, John C.

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As a young man of twenty-one in 1886, William Butler Yeats announced his ambition to unify Ireland through heroic poetry. But this prophetic urge lacked structure. Yeats had only some callow notions about needing self-possession and appropriate control of his imagery. As a result, his search for essential knowledge and experience soon led him into occult and symbolist vagueness. Yeats' mind grew flaccid, and his art languished in preciosity for over a decade. Lotos-eating had replaced prophetic fervor.
However, early in the new century, as Yeats neared middle age and permanent mediocrity, he recovered his early zeal and finally found the means to give it artistic shape. Through daily theatre work he had discovered tragedy. And through personal trials he had developed a tragic sense. Hence, an entire tragic perspective was born, one that would dominate Yeats' mind and art the rest of his life.
Locating the contours of Yeats' shift in-viewpoint, then, provides the key to understanding the man and his mature work. The present study does just that, tracing the origin, development, and elaboration of Yeats' tragic perspective, from its theoretical underpinnings to its poetic triumphs. Above all, this study supplies the basic context of Yeats* careers why he took the path he did, and how he wove all that he found along the way into a remarkable fabric.

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iv, 321 leaves

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  • May 1988

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  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

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  • Dec. 1, 2015, 10:43 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Brooks, John C. Unity, Ecstasy, Communion: The Tragic Perspective of W.B. Yeats, dissertation, May 1988; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331259/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .